Mary Queen of Scots (MQS) Involvement in Plots against Queen Elizabeth: Revision Table




Plots & Key People:

Causes & Aims:

How it was uncovered:

How Elizabeth & Privy Council dealt with it:


The Northern Rebellion (1569)

  • Revolt of the Northern Earls which were Catholics.

  • Aimed to dispose of Elizabeth and replace her with a catholic monarch - MQS.

  • Lead by the Earl of Westmorland, Charles Neville and the Earl of Northumberland.

  • They gathered 6,000 soldiers but Elizabeth got news of the plot as sent troops to meet the soldiers.

  • Elizabeth suppressed the rebels by sending a huge army to defeat them. She sentenced 600 rebels to death and both Earls fled to Scotland.

  • The rebellion was easily suppressed.

  • However, the rebellion revealed support in MQS’s claim to the English throne.

The Ridolfi Plot (1571)

  • A second attempto to replace Elizabeth with MQS. 

  • Aimed to assassinate Elizabeth.

  • Plotted by Italian nobleman Roberto Ridolfi who was able to travel between Rome, Brussels and Madrid to gather support.

  • When Ridolfi's messenger was arrested at Dover, incriminating letters were seized and Norfolk was arrested, tried for high treason and found guilty. He was executed on Tower Hill on 2 June 1572.

  • Ridolfi was able to avoid punishment when the plot was uncovered as he was


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